A four-year study involving 276 spine patients ages 53 to 75 published in the journal Spine suggests that we should--at the very least--take a deep breath and think twice before choosing epidural steroid injections to relieve the pain of lumbar spinal stenosis, not only because this oft-used treatment may not work, but also because it may cause more harm than good. Better yet and instead it might make sense to simply get in the habit of breathing deeply, which naturally lengthens the spine and helps relieve unhealthy stress on the vertebrae... But more about Gokhale Method solutions in just a bit! Read more
You can lay comfortably on any surface if you have good structure.
Students often ask me if there is a particular mattress that is in line with the Gokhale Method. While I do have a few suggestions, the most important part of lying down is how you do it. Stretchlying on your back or side to put some extra length in your back is key to navigating beds with any extra firmness or softness. Elongating the spine will also help mitigate the distortions caused by twisting and moving around in your sleep. If you learn how to use your body well, you will develop the ability to sleep and be comfortable on most surfaces. Read more
Taking a healthful mid-day nap - it can happen any place
at any time if you are able to improvise. Burkina Faso.
I’ve had lying on my mind lately. I mean flat out, horizontal, no holds barred, delicious, snooze-inducing lying down. It’s not talked about much in the debate whether we should sit, stand, or treadmill our way to better lives. But I say, hey, lying is where it’s at when you are tired, when you need a break, when you need a rest.
My son Nathan knows this quite well. When he Skypes with us, he is usually in his bed, covers pulled up high, computer set on the covers. He works lying, surfs lying, thinks about algorithms lying down. Read more
Lengthening the spine is an important component of the Gokhale Method and the best way to begin a posture transformation. Creating space between the vertebrae decompresses the discs and promotes healthy nerve function. Allowing your spine to be in gentle traction often throughout the day is an excellent way of creating a healthy baseline. We can do this by sitting, standing and sleeping with good posture. In addition to these Gokhale Method basics, sometimes your back muscles crave an even deeper stretch. Below I’ve outlined three additional ways you can stretch your spine that are safe and therapeutic. Read more
Having some asymmetry in our bodies is natural and by no means a problem… for example, the majority of us are either strongly right- or left-handed, and if we play soccer we soon discover that we have a preferred foot, too! This study shows that pelvic obliquity (often caused by legs of a slightly different length) is present in equal measure in people both with and without Lower Back Pain, and doesn’t seem to be a contributing factor to the problem of back pain.
A famous example of someone who had a big leg length discrepancy was Bruce Lee. It didn't hold him back very much! To quote him, "I became a martial artist in spite of my limitations. My left leg is almost one inch shorter than the right. That fact dictated the best stance for me – my right foot leading. Then I found because the right leg was longer, I had an advantage with certain types... Read more
Several years ago, I had the good fortune to teach Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. He was recommended to my care by a common friend. His wife Leah had faced some lower back challenges, as had he. We exchanged emails and arranged a meeting during his visit to San Francisco in 2009.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
When I first saw him in the lobby of his hotel, he struck me as a very unassuming, grounded person,... Read more
There are several more weeks of summer vacation before school starts again: plenty of time to squeeze a family camping trip or two out of the sunshiny drops of Summer! Here are a few tips to promote healthy posture while you’re on the road, by the campfire, and in your tent.
Are We There Yet?
During the long haul to your nearest national park, it’s easy to strain your cervical spine (the vertebrae in your neck) by craning your neck forward to see the road.
Justin Bieber, in this photo, is demonstrating forward head—his ear is forward of his collar bones, and his chin is far in front of his sternum Read more
One regular challenge you are likely to face in your posture journey is the battle against the oversized sofa. Here are some tips to help you maintain good form and stay pain-free when relaxing on a sofa.
Want to avoid the habitual curled, tucked position that most couches seem to encourage? Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash.
Your first line of defense against a deep, soft couch should be stretchsitting. This will make your seated time therapeutic as well as relaxing. Some couches, made of fabric with some degree of friction and having seats that aren’t too deep, may not be difficult to stretchsit on. If you’re lucky, you can simply hook yourself up against the back of the sofa. However, many couches are too deep to allow... Read more
I’ve taught stretchlying on the side for decades. So it’s a (welcome) surprise to discover a way of arranging the neck that is both more effective in adding additional neck length and more relaxing for the neck muscles.
It takes good form to be able to get rest on a surface this hard.
In July, reindeer herders in Samiland corral their reindeer to mark the ears of the unbranded calves. This involves stretches of waiting, some of it done reclining on the side, as above.